General Questions About Find A Grave
What is Find A Grave?
Find a Grave's mission is to find, record and present final disposition information from around the world as a virtual cemetery experience.
Memorial contributions to Find A Grave must fulfill that mission - registration of the final disposition. If the memorial contribution corresponds with only the main mission, then the memorial fulfills its purpose as part of Find A Grave's mission.
Find a Grave memorials may contain rich content including pictures, biographies and more specific information. Members can leave remembrances via 'virtual flowers' on the memorials they visit, completing the virtual cemetery experience.
Find A Grave is a resource for anyone in finding the final disposition of family, friends, and 'famous' individuals. [Top]
Help...I have a question. How can I contact Find A Grave?
Listed here is the contact information for Find A Grave and what functions are assigned to which email. For details on each function, see elsewhere within the FAQ. Often a reply will not be necessary, as any edit/update requests will be reviewed and completed upon approval.
Be sure to include the web page link in any communication to Find A Grave.
- Use the cemetery fix/update forum to submit cemetery updates including adding a cemetery bio, GPS, address, town, name corrections, and AKA's or use this email.
- Name, birth/death, plot, marker transcription, family links use the Edit Tab on the memorial to submit updates. Add memorial to the Stroll, Mark a memorial as a cenotaph, Add a memorial to Interesting Monuments, Add a memorial to Interesting Epitaphs, Report an inappropriate biography, and any other issues concerning memorials use this email.
- Concerning memorials found in the "famous" section: Name, birth/death, plot, marker transcription, family links use the Edit Tab on the memorial to submit updates. Updated famous bios, famous duplicates, Posthumous Reunions use this email.
- Not used for cemetery updates or duplicates. Add a missing town, correct a town spelling, report duplicate town listings or other geography questions. Please read here before submitting.
- Report copyright issues, Request Cemetery Data, Report a deceased contributor, Assign Fallen Graver Stewardship, unresponsive transfer requests, and all other questions.
- Add a cemetery photo to cemeteries without photo option, correct a cemetery photo, and report any inappropriate photo.
- Find A Grave
360 West 4800 North
Provo, UT 84604
Be sure to include the web page link in any communication to Find A Grave.
You can also use the Find A Grave Community Forums to ask your question. Other members may know the answer to your question. Be sure to find the first post on any of the official forums and follow the instructions listed there. [Top]
How do I join Find A Grave?
Please note that only one account per person is allowed. Multiple accounts will be merged. [Top]
How do I cite Find A Grave in a bibliography?
Please feel free to cite Find A Grave in your bibliographies, lists of references, etc. in whatever format you deem appropriate. Please note that, while Jim Tipton is the creator of Find A Grave, he is not the author of all of the content. If the information you are referencing includes a "bio by XXXXXXX" line, please cite that author as well.
Sample citation: Bio Author. "Web Page Title". Find A Grave. Date of (your) access.
Sample citation: Bio Author. "John Doe". Find A Grave. 6-1-2008. [Top]
Who is behind Find A Grave?
Rather than try to answer this in a FAQ, we created a dedicated page to let you meet the fine folks who make Find A Grave tick...please visit our Who is behind Find A Grave? page. [Top]
I'd like to link to your site or have you link to me, how do I do that?
Wonderful! Feel free to link to Find A Grave from your web page. You can build a custom link to Find A Grave here.
If you become a member of Find A Grave, your Contributor Profile has a 'Home Page' field where you can add a link to your website. [Top]
How much does it cost to become a member and use Find A Grave?
Nothing. Find A Grave is completely FREE! We do not charge anything for any of our services. You can become a member, create a memorial, submit data, add flowers, add photos and search our database at no charge. [Top]
Is Find A Grave a non-profit organization?
No, we are not a non-profit organization. [Top]
What are some guidelines for contacting Find A Grave?
We apologize for any delay in addressing your emails. Thousands of emails come in every week and we do our best to address each email. Tips: Many of the emails we receive have been answered in the other FAQs on this page, so please be sure to read these through. The Find A Grave Forums is also a great source. There are contributors there who can help answer your questions quickly. If you do need to contact us by email, try to put the main topic of your question in the "Subject:" field (for example, Subject: Cemetery address correction). Many SPAM emails use "Hi," "Hello," and "Question" in their Subject fields, so we often do bulk deletions of emails that have those words in the Subject line. Give as many specifics as possible in your message. Include links (URLs) to the memorials or web pages you are writing about, as well as names, dates, and locations. There are quite a few John Smiths in our database, so asking us to correct the birth date for John Smith doesn't give us enough information to make the correction. Please know that we are working diligently on all the email that is sent in. We thank you for your patience! [Top]
Why did you create Find A Grave?
We believe this information is important for many reasons. It is of great historical importance to have a record of all those who have been a part of our collective humanity. Burial information is a wonderful resource for people researching their families (genealogists). Most importantly, visiting a gravesite is a way of keeping the memory of someone alive. We aim to create a comprehensive 'virtual cemetery' where loved ones can visit graves, leave flowers, etc. when they cannot do so in real life due to geography, finances or other circumstances. [Top]
What is your copyright policy?
Content, other than items of fact, which has been contributed to Find A Grave by members remain the property of the submitter and Find A Grave is the licensed distributor of such content. Occasionally, a person may feel that content submitted by a member is their property or is covered by the copyright of someone other than the submitter.
Please remember that Find A Grave is only the distributor of member supplied content and the submitter, not Find A Grave, is the one who would be responsible for any alleged copyright violation. However, we will respond to substantiated claims of violation. If you feel that another user has violated your copyright, you should send a claim of copyright violation to firstname.lastname@example.org. In order for us to substantiate your claim, you MUST include all of the following information:
- Identification of the copyrighted work claimed to be infringed, and the basis of the claim, including the URL
- Identification of the material on Find A Grave which is claimed to be infringing, including the URL
- Full contact information on the claimed copyright owner or other claimant, (who must have a license which is being infringed or other standing to make the claim.) This includes Full Name, Address, Phone Number, and Email Address.
- The Following Statement: ““I am the Owner, or authorized to act on behalf of the owner, of the copyright or of an exclusive right under the copyright that is allegedly infringed. The information in this notice is accurate.”
- A physical or electronic signature of the claiming party [Top]
Why is my information appearing on Ancestry sites?
Find A Grave is owned and supported by Ancestry. Our Terms of Service state that when you upload content to Find A Grave, you grant Find A Grave and its group companies the right to reuse that content on other sites in the group, including ancestry.com. Ancestry users may include information found on Find A Grave in their trees on Ancestry sites and Ancestry may show information and images from Find A Grave in their search or other areas of the site. This expands the reach of the information collected on Find A Grave and helps other members of the Ancestry Community who are researching their ancestors. [Top]
Membership / Signing In
How can I change/update my email address or add a biography to my Contributor Page?
In order to change or update your email address simply follow these steps:
1. Log in to Find A Grave
2. Go to 'Contributor Tools' listed under your name on the left hand side of the page.
3. Click on the 'Edit Profile' button in the Public Profile section of Contributor Tools.
4. Type your new address in the email box and click 'Save Changes'
Your email address will immediately be updated and all of your records will reflect your new address (unless you have chosen not to display your email address). [Top]
Why do I have to register and become a member? I'm worried about my privacy.
Why do I keep getting the request to sign in, right after I sign in?
It sounds like your cookies are not enabled. This can be done in your browser preferences or settings. Once you enable your cookies, the Find A Grave servers will be able to 'remember' that you are signed in. Click here to leave the Find A Grave site and visit a page that will give you detailed instructions on how to enable browser cookies. [Top]
How do I change my password?
In order to change your password simply follow these steps:
1. Log in to Find A Grave using your email address and previous password
2. Go to 'Contributor Tools' (Once you have logged you will see 'Contributor Tools' listed under your name on the left hand side of the page.)
3. Click on the 'Change Password' button in the "Your Public Profile" section of Contributor Tools.
4. A small window/box will pop open asking you to type in your old password and then the new password you would like. Be sure to click the "Change My Password" button to save your new password.
Your new password will need to be used the next time you log in. [Top]
What is a photo volunteer?
A photo volunteer is someone who is willing to take photos of headstones within a given zip code.
To become a photo volunteer, log in and go to your Contributor Profile page by clicking on your public name in the left hand column of the page. This will bring up your Find A Grave Contributor Profile page. Click on the 'Edit My Profile' link in the upper right corner. From here, you can enter your default United States zip code or edit your Location and add the GPS coordinates for your home, business, or favorite location. Under Preferences, select to be a photo volunteer and if you would like to be emailed new requests in your area. Find A Grave does not allow photo volunteers to charge money for their services. As a photo volunteer, please do not refer individuals to other websites for photographs of their loved one's grave. [Top]
What is a photo request?
A photo request is tied to the photo volunteer program. If you would like to request a headstone photo of a memorial, just go to the memorial on Find A Grave. Click on the 'Request A Photo' button. This will bring up a new screen allowing you to add any notes that may help the photo volunteer locate the grave location within the cemetery. You can also decide if you would like your email to be included in the email sent to photo volunteers. Then click the 'Submit Photo Request' button. Your request will be emailed to the 10 photo volunteers who live closest to the cemetery. Depending on the cemetery location and the number of volunteers in the area, it may take a few weeks or even longer for the photo request to be fulfilled. NOTE: If the memorial record does not have specific information regarding the grave's plot/location in the cemetery, please contact the cemetery office (if one is listed) to obtain the plot location and add it to your email. Many cemetery offices will only provide that information to relatives of the deceased and will not assist photo volunteers with finding the grave's location.
When you receive an email request for a photo follow the link in the email and log in to Findagrave. If you are willing to take the photo and the request is still "open" (meaning no one else has claimed it) then click 'claim' next to the interment's name on the photo request page. Do this before you go to the cemetery. You can get to this page a few different ways: follow the link in the photo request email that you receive, search for the cemetery and then click on the photo requests for that cemetery which are listed on the main cemetery page, or search by the zip code that you signed up for in your 'Contributor Tools'. Once you click on claim, you will have 14 days to upload the photo or the request will default back to "open". When you upload the photo, please do so by clicking on the fulfill button, which is next to the claim button. Find A Grave will know that the photo request has been filled and will email the member who requested the photo stating that it has been fulfilled. If a photo request has already been claimed, you may still go to the cemetery and take the photo; however, you will not receive photo volunteer credit for photo requests which you did not claim. Members have 14 days to fulfill a photo request after which another member may claim and fulfill the photo request. [Top]
Do I need a separate login for the main site and the Community Forums?
Yes. The main Find A Grave account allows you to add information, photos, flowers, etc. to our database. You sign up for this main account using your email address and a password of your choosing. When you sign up, you can pick any name you wish to be displayed on your memorials. This is called your 'public name'. You can change your 'public name' by clicking on Edit My Profile on your Contributor Profile page. Multiple people may have the same 'public name'.
The Find A Grave Forums are used by a subset of the 'main' Find A Grave contributors and therefore require an entirely different registration. The forums allow you to pick one name only which will be your displayed name on the community forums. Once you've signed up with a login name, you cannot change it without administration intervention, so please pick carefully. Also the forums do not allow more than one person to have the same name. It makes the interaction of a forum easier when users have distinct names.
How do the public messages work?
Public messages are messages members can leave on your Contributor Profile page. You can turn on or off your public messages by going to 'Contributor Tools' and clicking on the 'Edit Profile' button. There are two check boxes for public messages. One to turn them on and the other to have an email sent to you when you get a new public message. Public messages left for you can be deleted by clicking on the upper right 'X' of any message you receive on your Contributor Profile page.
How can I see a list of the photo requests I have claimed?
Go to your contributor tools page (be sure you are logged in first). There is a link under the Photo Volunteer section that says, "View requests you have claimed." Click on the link to see which requests you have claimed. The link will not appear if you do not have any claimed requests right now.
You may search for open requests in your area by either clicking on "View photo requests closest to you" or by using the "Search photo requests by zip:" feature that is also in that section on your Contributor page. [Top]
Why do I keep receiving photo request emails? How do I make them stop?
When you registered to become a member of Find A Grave, you had the option to also be photo volunteer. If you are receiving emails asking you to photograph a grave marker, it means you checked the box stating you wanted to be a photo volunteer. If you do not want to be a photo volunteer, follow these steps:
1. Log in to Find A Grave
2. Go to 'Contributor Tools' listed under your name on the left hand side of the page.
3. Click on the 'Edit Profile' button in the Public Profile section of Contributor Tools.
4. Uncheck the box next to the option 'I would like to be a photo volunteer.'
5. Click on the 'Save Changes' button on the upper right side of the page. [Top]
How do I transfer a memorial that I manage to another contributor or to Find A Grave to manage and update?
You must be logged in, and you must manage the memorial you are going to transfer. You will also need the other contributor's Contributor ID #. It is next to their name on their contributor page if they did not provide it. If you are transferring the memorial to Find A Grave to manage, the contributor ID # is 8. (If you would like to transfer all of the memorials you have added to a particular cemetery to Find A Grave to manage, please send us an email with your contributor ID # and a link to the cemetery involved, and we can transfer your memorials to Find A Grave for you all at once.)
After you log in, go to the memorial page you are going to transfer. There will be a link on the right side of the memorial page, under the person's name, that says Transfer Management. Click on the link. Add the other contributor's ID # in the box on the Transfer Management of Memorial page that comes up, and click on the transfer this memorial button. NOTE: Once you have transferred the memorial, you will no longer be able to edit or update it. [Top]
Do I need to use the same user name for the main site and the community forums?
No. The main site allows you to pick any name you wish, so if your real name is already being used by someone else, you can still use it. The community forums, since they are interactive, require distinct names so that when you post, you can be distinguished from everyone else.
Your name can be the same for the main site and the community forums, only if the name you wish to use in the forums is not already in use by someone else. [Top]
I don't want my email to show up on the records I submit, how do I remove it?
Your email would only show up on records you submit if you have typed in your email as your "Public Name" with your membership registration. If you have used your email as your "Public Name" and would like to change it to your name, a nickname, or to Anonymous, do the following: login and go to your Contributor Profile page by clicking on your public name in the left hand column of the page. This will bring up your Find A Grave Contributor Profile page. Click on the 'Edit My Profile' link in the upper right corner. In the Public Name box, type in the name you want to show up on records, notes, photos and other submissions to Find A Grave. Note: if you don't want your email to be visible on your Contributor Profile page, be sure you uncheck the box next to "Display my email on my contributor page." [Top]
What is the 'My Cemeteries' list used for?
At the top right corner of every cemetery is a button labeled "Add this to my cemeteries". This will place the cemetery in your "My cemeteries" list on your "Contributor Tools" page. Adding a cemetery to your 'My Cemeteries' list allows you to quickly pull the cemetery up via the Quick Submit Form as well as download your data for those cemeteries on your "Contributor Tools" page. [Top]
Why doesn't my interment count (or flower count, photo count, etc.) match the actual number of interments I have submitted?
The numbers you see in your 'contributions' section of your Contributor Profile are technically APPROXIMATE numbers...if we had to count up everyone's number for all the various things (interments, photos, flowers, etc.) every time their Contributor Profile page was loaded, it would be too much for the database to handle...so we store an approximate value to display when you (or others) view your profile page. This number, in theory, gets updated any time you add a new name, delete a name, etc...that's in theory...in reality, there are certain circumstances that can cause that number to not get updated...a server error, an administrator deleting a duplicate interment for you, bugs that we don't know about, etc. Because we know these numbers can drift from the accurate count, we occasionally run a script that will 'refresh' these approximate counts, bringing them into check with reality. The 'drifting count' problem happens often enough that we actually added a link to let you refresh the numbers yourself...if you are logged in, you will see a 'refresh these numbers' link under your contribution count on your Contributor Profile page. Hitting this link will reload the page with fully accurate numbers. [Top]
What will happen to the memorials that I created after I pass on? Can I set up a caretaker or steward to preside over the memorials that I created? What is the process?
Right now, you can email
if you have someone who has accepted stewardship (usually a family member) over the memorials you added. Please send in their member number. We will add a note to your member page stating the identity of the steward. You can have them email in after your passing and we will make sure that they have access to update the memorials.
If you do not have a steward, then the management of your memorials may be passed on to close family members of the memorials that you have created. The family members can email the memorial numbers in (no more than five at a time) along with their close relationship to the deceased and their member number, asking for a transfer of management. [Top]
What is the new Edit tab on my contributor page?
We currently are working to update our "Suggest A Correction/Submit an Edit" system. At this time, Find A Grave contributors may submit updates to the Name, Birth and Death Dates and Locations, and Plot fields via a new Edit System. When they submit edits to any of those fields, the managing contributor will no longer receive an email notification. These edits are now waiting for the managing contributor's review on their Contributor Page.
To review edits to these fields that have been submitted for memorials you manage, go to your 'Contributor Tools' and click on the 'Edits' tab.
The edits awaiting your approval will be listed with a link to the memorial page, the public name of the contributor who submitted the edit and the date it was submitted, and the information currently in the field and the suggested updated information for the field. There is then the option to Accept, Decline, or Ignore the submitted edit. If you Accept the edit, the changes will automatically be made for you and the person who submitted the update will receive an email confirming that the edits were made. If you Decline the edit, you will need to select a reason why you are declining it, and the changes will not be made the person who submitted the update will receive an email with the reason why you declined it. If you Ignore the edit, it will stay in your queue for your later review.
In the near future, we hope to add the ability to submit relationship links via this system. We will also have a time limit on the processing of edits, so that the memorials of contributors who are no longer active on Find A Grave may still be updated. As part of the time-limit feature, contributors who have edits in their queue for a certain number of days will receive an email notification about the pending edits waiting review.
The new system will save contributors a lot time in making edits to their memorials, as the managing contributor will no longer have to search for the memorial page, open the edit feature, search for city locations, etc. It will automatically go through with the contributor's approval. [Top]
Searching for Information
Why can't I find the person I'm looking for?
It's possible that you will need to reduce your search terms. If you have entered a middle name or burial location, you may want to try removing those from the search terms to have a broader search of the database. If you still can't find them, please realize that Find A Grave is a work in progress. While we strive for a comprehensive listing of the burial places of everyone in the world, we recognize that this is a massive undertaking. We realize that there are many millions of graves out there that we do not yet have in our database. This is where YOU come in! If you know where someone is buried but cannot find them on our site, please submit the information using our free online submission form! If you don't know where they are buried and are still searching for someone, please continue to visit the site, as we are adding tens of thousands of names daily. [Top]
Why does it keep telling me I need to add a cemetery? I thought this was FIND A Grave!
It sounds like you might be on the Submit Names page. That page is used to ADD burial information to the database. If you are SEARCHING for information, please be sure to use the Search Page. [Top]
Where do you get your information?
Our information comes from over 400,000 registered Find A Grave contributors. Unless the contributor prefers to remain anonymous, we list their name on the memorial pages they build and the photos they submit. [Top]
How can I get a copy of my relative's death certificate?
In the United States, death certificates are usually public record and can be obtained for a nominal fee from state/county departments of public record (often called the Office of Vital Records). Try performing a Google search on the state where your loved one passed away and the term "death certificate."
You can try the CDC website for more specifics by state. [Top]
Is there a way to search for a member's profile page?
Yes, but you will need to know their public name used on the main site. Go to 'Contributor Tools'. From the Customize box, click the 'edit' button next to 'My Find A Grave Friends', then select the 'Find Members' link. [Top]
Why are there multiple memorials for the same individual? How does Find A Grave handle duplicate memorials?
Because so many people add data to Find A Grave, there are often duplicate cemeteries and duplicate memorials added. This is a very common situation and is quite difficult to resolve in a way that keeps everyone happy. Before adding a memorial, search the cemetery to see if a record with that name has already been added. If you are adding a memorial for someone who has recently passed or who does not have a physical grave or memorial marker in a cemetery (perhaps their ashes were scattered), please do a general search on Find A Grave (do not enter a location) to see if a memorial has already been created for that person. If you find a memorial has been added but has incomplete or incorrect information, instead of creating a duplicate memorial use the tools provided to submit corrections, additions or a transfer request via the "Suggest A Correction" link under the 'Edit' tab on the upper right of the memorial. Never deliberately create a duplicate memorial. In regard to duplicates, a memorial with a correct known burial location will always be preferred over an unknown burial location. A member has thirty days to update the memorial to the correct burial location on recent deaths. If a case of duplicate memorials falls to the Administration, the Administration will have the final word on which memorial is deleted and which data will be retained in the remaining memorial page. There are some situations where an individual (usually a 'famous' individual) may have more than one memorial page, because their body was buried in one location but a cenotaph or second marker/memorial was also placed in a second location. If there are two memorial pages for the same individual, and one has an Other Burial designation (Cremation, Body Lost, burial at Sea, Donation, Non-Cemetery, or Unknown), and the other gives the location of a cenotaph or memorial marker, the memorial page with the Other Designation may be merged into the memorial page with a physical cenotaph stone or memorial location. [Top]
Submitting Information / Creating Memorials
How do a person's siblings show up on their memorial page?
When an individual's memorial page is linked to one or more parent memorial pages, that individual's memorial will show up as a sibling on any other memorial pages that have been linked to one of the parents. The individual's name will show up on the sibling list of their own memorial to help show where the individual was in the birth order of the siblings. Memorials may only be linked to parents and spouses, and sibling links are automatically generated; there is no ability to add sibling links directly to a memorial page. [Top]
Can I add my relative/friend to Find A Grave? How?
Please do! We welcome your information...please perform a search to ensure that we don't already have your loved one listed. If you don't find them, please use one of our submission forms to add your information. If you do locate the memorial, you can submit additional information to the submitter using the "Suggest A Correction" link under the 'Edit' tab in the upper right corner of the memorial.
We want as many people as possible to be able to find the names you submit, so please be sure to put the proper information in the proper field. For instance, don't put a title like "Sgt" or Rev" in the "First Name" field.
See the naming conventions and Non-Famous Bios sections below.
Thank you for contributing to this vital resource -- it is thanks to people like yourself that we receive countless letters from people who are grateful to find the burial information of an old friend, parent or loved one. [Top]
What if someone was cremated or does not have a traditional 'grave'?
Find A Grave believes everyone deserves to be remembered equally and have built the site to support common alternative dispositions to traditional burial. This includes cremation, lost or buried at sea, and donated to medical science. Use the Family and Friends form to add a memorial using one of these alternatives to traditional burial. If there is a known cenotaph or memorial marker for one of these alternative dispositions located in a cemetery, add the memorial to the cemetery and add a note to the memorial indicating that it is a cenotaph and what, if known, happened to the individual's remains. If there is an existing cenotaph within a cemetery for someone who had a alternative disposition, do NOT add another memorial under the alternative disposition (such as Burial: Unknown, Body Lost, Cremation, Donation, Burial at Sea, Non-Cemetery).
Roadside accident memorials are not an accepted burial disposition. [Top]
What if the cemetery isn't listed for the names I want to add? How do I add a cemetery to the list?
We have a fairly comprehensive database of cemeteries in the United States. Please perform a search from our cemetery search page to make sure the cemetery is not already in our database. Include adjacent counties and other names which the cemetery may be known by as names do change over time.
If you still can't find the cemetery, add the person as you would any other using the Family and Friends form. Fill out Step 1: Biographical Information. Choose 'Cemetery burial' and proceed to Step 2. Step 2, Find the Cemetery. Fill in the first 10 characters of the cemetery name and location information and then search for cemetery. Pick the correct cemetery if listed or choose the link 'click here to add a new cemetery' to add a new cemetery. Fill in the cemetery name and location information and click 'add new cemetery'. The cemetery and memorial are now added. Completely spell out the name of the cemetery using no abbreviations nor punctuation, even if the "official" cemetery name is made of such abbreviations or punctuation. St. John's Cemetery would be Saint Johns Cemetery. Mt. Zion would be Mount Zion.
Never create a cemetery by the name "unknown" or any variant. Burials where the interment is unknown may be added using the 'Other' burial option, then 'recent death, location of body unknown'. Location of body unknown must be used for recent deaths where the disposition is not currently known. Final disposition must be determined and updated within 30 days. [Top]
What are your memorial naming conventions?
- Memorial Naming Conventions: Non-famous Memorials
- If a hyphen or an apostrophe is part of the name, use the punctuation.
- Use a period after names where only an initial is known. If the full name is known, use the full name and not the initial.
- Do not use any other punctuation within any Name Field.
- Do not use Full capitalization (ALL-CAPS) of names in any Name Field.
- Suffixes and Prefixes do not belong in any Name Field.
- First Name
- First name of the deceased. Put the entire first name (if known), even if the grave marker is only an initial. Do not include titles or other prefixes in the First Name field.
- Middle Name
- Middle name of deceased. Put the entire middle name (if known), even if the grave marker is only an initial.
- A familiar name of the deceased, if known; the nickname is automatically placed in quotes. A nickname is different from the real name (first or middle).
- Maiden Name
- Maiden name of a married individual, if known (otherwise leave blank); the maiden name is automatically italicized and is only used if the individual was married and took the spouse's last name as their new last name. If the deceased was never married, then the last name is placed in the "Last Name" field, NOT in the "Maiden Name" field.
- Last Name
- Last Name as you would find it on the tombstone, if the interred had more than one marriage or other possible spellings please place this information in the bio and use the family links. Do not include honorary or other suffixes in the Last Name field.
Memorial Naming Conventions: Famous Memorials
Famous entries are to be listed under the name by which the person became well-known. For example, Archibald Leach is listed under his well-known name Cary Grant. [Top]
May I add a death certificate to a person's memorial page?
Death certificates may be added via the "Add a photo" button on the memorial page. Please select the option for "Other" in the "Type of photo:" to be added, as it is not a Grave, Person or Family photograph. NOTE: Death certificates do not necessarily contain completely accurate information about the deceased. There are often errors regarding the final burial location (as well as other data). [Top]
Are roadside accident memorials allowed?
Roadside accident memorials are not an accepted burial disposition. Nor are they considered a cenotaph. However, you can add a photo of the roadside memorial to the memorial where the final disposition occurred. [Top]
Can I add a memorial for someone who is buried in a cemetery outside of the United States?
Yes, please use the Family and Friends form to submit these memorials. [Top]
Why don't you have the prefix I am looking for in your drop down list of prefixes?
Our military prefixes are not meant to be comprehensive. Initially, we tried this, but there are literally hundreds and hundreds of military prefixes in the US Military, alone. We started receiving hundreds MORE from contributors in other countries and, in the end, we decided to go with an abbreviated list of military prefixes rather than presenting our contributors with a massive list to choose from. We recommend choosing the closest option (e.g., choose 'sergeant' for 'staff sergeant'). We know this drives some military people crazy because it is not as technically accurate as it could be, but it is the compromise we have chosen.
What is a cenotaph? How do I have a memorial designated as a cenotaph?
A cenotaph is a tomb or a monument erected in honor of a person or group of persons whose remains are buried elsewhere. It can also be the initial marker for a person who has since been interred elsewhere.
To add a cenotaph, create a memorial just like any other. Then email
with a link to the memorial and a message to mark it as a cenotaph. Please only add relationship links to the actual burial memorial, when a cenotaph and an actual burial both exist.
Can I add an obituary to my interment listing?
Please do NOT add newspaper article or obituary scans. The photo section is reserved for headstone/grave photos and possibly a portrait photo of the person, if that photo is owned by you. Do not copy and post photographs from obituary or funeral home websites (unless you personally are the photographer), as they are protected by copyright law. Find A Grave reserves the right to remove obituary notices and photographs from memorial records. Obituaries for "famous" individuals are usually written by newspaper staff and can not be posted to Find A Grave as the newspaper company owns that copyright. Please do not include website addresses that may be listed in the obituary as they usually expire within a year after the obituary is printed. [Top]
Is there a way to add more titles to the pull down box when adding an interment?
No more titles will be added to this pull down box. [Top]
How do I submit a large set of information (a cemetery, a county, etc.)?
We love to receive large listings. There are two good options for submitting a large number of names from the same cemetery. The preferred method is our online Quick Submit form where you can rapidly submit names directly to the database (they will appear online immediately). To make this method even quicker, you might want to add the cemeteries you are working on to your 'My Cemeteries' list using the 'add this to My Cemeteries' button on the Find A Grave cemetery pages.
If you prefer to work 'offline' and are going to add at least 25 names for the same cemetery, we have an Excel spreadsheet template to help you organize your data. Once you have filled out the template, simply choose the 'Submit spreadsheet' link on the cemetery record page that the names belong to. If you are using Excel 2007, be sure to 'Save as Type' Excel 97-2003.
Please be sure to put the proper information in the proper field. Putting information in the wrong field will result in your entries not being searchable. For example, if you put "Mary" in the "Last Name" field, no one will find her when searching by name. [Top]
What about the privacy of living family members?
An individual's right to privacy disappears when they are deceased. The opinions of the relatives of the deceased fall on all sides of the question. Some people are angry to find a loved one when they come to Find A Grave, even if the memorial was added by another relative, as is usually the case, and some people are elated and send us notes of thanks for building an online memorial to their family member. If an immediate family member contacts us and wants information removed, we generally do so as a matter of respect for their wishes but we treat each request on a case by case basis. The names of living survivors will be removed from the biography section of a memorial upon request.
How do I submit a famous person to Find A Grave?
Please be informed that the "famous" section and each memorial placed into it are the sole domain of Find a Grave Administration. All famous memorials are maintained and controlled in every aspect by our staff, and cannot be transferred to anyone, even relatives.
Additionally, all memorials sent to us as "famous" will go through an approval process, as will any edit requests sent by members. All famous memorials must contain accurate and verifiable burial location/final disposition information. If a famous death has occurred in less than 30 days, the memorial may be submitted with an unknown burial location, as it is assumed that the final disposition has not yet been announced.
In the case where multiple memorial entries for the same famous person are received, our staff will carefully review each entry. It is often a difficult choice, but we can only choose one memorial. There are many factors going into which memorial will be chosen. Being the "first in" is not the determining factor. What we are looking for is the memorial that contains the most comprehensive information, including an original bio that conforms to the Find a Grave Famous Bio Guidelines (found here). Bios copied from Wikipedia are only to be used by Administrators as a "placeholder" bio until someone else submits an original bio to us (Email your original bio to email@example.com for review).
An example of a well-made, approved famous memorial is here: Judy Garland
Prior to adding a memorial record for a "famous" person, perform a search to see if a record for that individual already exists on Find A Grave. If no record exists, you can add a famous person to the Find A Grave database using one of the Family and Friends submission forms (you do need to be a registered member of Find A Grave to add records). On the bottom of the form, there is a checkbox to indicate that the person was famous. All famous submissions go through an approval process. It may take several days before your famous submission shows up in the famous listings if it is approved.
How do I add a link from one memorial to another?
In order to create a link in the biography of one memorial to someone else's memorial (such as the person's spouse or parent), you will need to use a bit of HTML code. It's hard to put into words, so here is an example (from Johnny Carson's biography which has a link to Red Skelton's memorial page): Pioneering Television Legend, Comic, Host. Carson began his entertainment career in radio but quickly moved to television. He moved to Hollywood to become a writer for "The Red Skelton Show."
In the biography, you would need to type
< a href="http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=XXXXXXX">Name< /a>
where XXXXXXX is the GRid number of the memorial you want to link. The GRid is a unique id for each memorial and as such is the only thing within the entire URL that must be included. The "Name" is what will show up on the screen as a link.
You will need to remove the space between < and a at the beginning as well as the space between the < and / at the end. The spaces were added here to actually show you the code.
You can also use "Add relationship links" on the memorial page. You can add the links to father, mother, and multiple spouses. Adding this information will automatically post the reverse information to the linked memorial as well. [Top]
How do I add my loved one's memorial to the online stroll?
To be added to the random walk, the memorial must contain a photo of the person, an original biography (not a newspaper or online obituary) and verifiable interment location information. Please, no pets or animals. Email the link of the memorial page to AJ@Findagrave.com with the request to have the memorial honored on the random walk. [Top]
Can I add the GPS location of a grave? If so how do I add it?
Yes, you can add the GPS location of a grave. On the memorial page, select the 'Add Plot' link where the burial information is listed. On the next page you can add the Cemetery Plot information as well as the GPS coordinates for the grave. [Top]
Can I add a memorial for my pet?
Yes, when we say we want to list the burial locations of everyone, we're not kidding. Pets are an important part of many of our lives and their deaths can be a great loss.
You may want to use your family's last name as the pet's last name, to make it easier to find the memorial at a later date.
If the pet is buried in a pet cemetery, the memorial is listed as such. In the event that the pet was buried in the backyard or other non-cemetery location, please use the Family and Friends form. Select 'other' for burial, and then during step 2 select 'non cemetery burial' and fill in the detailed information. [Top]
How do I enter all married names for a woman's memorial when she was married more than once?
The 'last name' is the name that is on the headstone. Include other married names as part of the biography section. The 'maiden name' is only for her maiden name. [Top]
Is it acceptable to add a memorial for someone who is still living?
Please try to avoid it. In general, we do not encourage adding memorials for individuals who are still living. We do realize, however, that when transcribing a cemetery, it is not always possible to determine if the person is living or not. Memorials for individuals who are alive will be removed when requested (the exception being for 'famous' individuals who already have a burial location in place). You are always welcome to create a 'pre-need' memorial for yourself, if you would like, provided that you have a pre-need headstone already in place in a cemetery. Given these exceptions, a memorial created after death will be preferred over a pre-need memorial. [Top]
How do I enter a memorial when I am uncertain how many are buried in the grave?
Only one memorial per person. Please do not create a family/group memorial. Instead each known person has an individual memorial. List as follows:
Middle: Twin Son or Daughter
Last: Doe [Top]
Can I post animated GIFS, MIDIs (music files) or other non-personal images?
Yes, but please be sure to post them in the proper location. The photo area is ONLY to be used for photos of the person or their grave. All 'non-personal' images must be added to the "Virtual Flowers" section, using the Custom Scrapbook functionality. 'Non-personal' images include animated GIFS, MIDI files, images of flowers, angels, flags, banners, coats of arms, etc. Please know that if an icon is determined to be too large in size, take too long to load, blinky/flashy, garish, politically charged, copyrighted, negative, or offensive it will be altered.
To add an image to the "Virtual Flowers" section, simply click on the 'Add A Flower and Note" link and choose 'My Scrapbook' from the popup list and follow the onscreen instructions. [Top]
How do I add music to a memorial page?
Find a Grave does not allow MIDI music files, animated GIF images, or flower images in the Photo section of a memorial page. These file types may still be added to the Virtual Flower section, however. Originally, we allowed the posting of these file types in the photo section, but this very important area of the site (where loved one's images appear, as well as photos of their headstone) was being filled with an untold number of non-grave memorial items, at times completely obscuring the original intent of the memorial pages. [Top]
How does Find A Grave define 'famous'?
Please don't confuse importance with fame. Every one of your ancestors is important, and every veteran deserves to be remembered and honored-but that does not mean that they are 'famous'. An individual is more likely to be designated as 'famous' on the Find A Grave site if he or she is well known outside of his or her local community. [Top]
How long does it take for the information I submit online to get added to the web pages?
In most cases, the information is available immediately. Photographs of famous individuals and their burial sites may take a few days to process. [Top]
Why are there multiple copies of the record I submitted?
Duplicate entries sometimes happen when you use the "back" button to view a newly entered record... it is best not to use that button to navigate our site because it can -- as you already know -- result in duplicated records. The other possibility is that when you are trying to edit a record you have already saved, you are using our submission form and recreating the entire record, which results in the creation of an additional record.
You are able to delete duplicate copies of records that you have created. [Top]
I don't want to submit my information and then see it for sale here or on another site. Will Find A Grave always remain a free site?
Access to photos posted on Find A Grave is provided free of charge. We claim no copyright or ownership of photos that are posted by users to Find A Grave. However, by submitting a photo to Find A Grave, you grant Find A Grave a license to host and facilitate the sharing of the photo across the Ancestry Community sites. [Top]
How do I add a memorial when I'm not sure what cemetery they are buried?
This is similar to adding a memorial for cremation. Do not create a new cemetery which does not exist in order to add these memorials. Use the Family and Friends link and select the Burial:Other and then Recent Death, location of body unknown option. Location of body unknown is used for recent deaths where the disposition is not currently known. Final disposition must be determined and updated within 30 days. [Top]
What can I include in a non-famous bio?
Genealogical information about the subject can be included in the biography.
The biography is to be about the person for which the memorial is made with preference to an original biography. If a cause of death is added, it is to be short and to the point, and as shown on the death certificate. The bio must not look like a case file.
Graphic bios are not acceptable.
Links to other websites or email addresses are not allowed within any memorial.
These standards will be added to and updated from time to time. Find A Grave reserves the right to edit any biography submitted to the site to conform to these and any future posted standards. [Top]
How do I add a town that does not show on your database?
Historical locations, Townships, Town’s of, Plantation’s of or other civil divisions will not be added to the database. If you need to use an historical location, reference it in the bio of either the cemetery or memorial in question. Townships, Town’s of, and Plantation’s of are another administrative level between counties and towns and we currently have no plans to add another level.
We are currently working on updating the place name database, specifically within the international portion of the database. We do not have a specific estimated time of completion for any given country. You can follow the geographic status here. [Top]
As a contributor, do I have to make corrections or additions to the memorials I manage?
Find A Grave memorials are to be viewed as works in progress. There is always the potential for someone to send you a correction or additional information. As the manager of the memorial, we hope that you will be excited to receive and post new information as it is presented to you. If you neglect to update memorials when valid corrections are sent to you, we may determine that you have become an inactive member. If that happens, we may make corrections on your behalf or transfer management of the memorial to an active contributor. If you have added memorials that you do not want to manage, please let Find A Grave know, and we will assume management. [Top]
When should a memorial be assigned the designation "body lost or destroyed"?
This designation should be used when there is documentation and knowledge that the body has been lost or destroyed and its burial location is lost to history. [Top]
What information do I include from a headstone?
Include all of the information on the headstone into the appropriate fields/dropdown menus in the memorial form. It is not sufficient to create a memorial with only a name and a headstone photo. Of course, if the headstone only has a name, then you cannot add information you do not have. However, if the information is on the stone, enter the information into the form.
If a headstone is not readable at all and you have plot information and a photo for the marker, please add the memorial as first name Unknown, last name Unknown. This is the standard. Please do not use other terms unless they identify the person such as Child, Twin, Infant, Adult, Male, Female, First name, Last Name.
“Add marker transcription” is to be used for words, phrases, or sentences that are found on the headstone, other than the person’s name or birth and death dates. Examples of these would be “Loving mother”, “Here my love lies”, Served in Company 212, etc. When adding to this field, please use standard text, as in the prior examples. [Top]
Can I add a memorial from a newspaper obituary or other 3rd party source?
Find A Grave does not discourage the legitimate indexing of the deceased through obituaries or other 3rd party accounts. Newspapers represent a very good source of information as a public record. What we ask is that those who index and memorialize the deceased from newspapers and other 3rd party accounts do so with full respect of copyright, refrain from adding information about living people, and respond generously to the family of the deceased. If anyone related to the deceased feel unsatisfied with Find A Grave or the memorial manager, we ask that they contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for satisfactory resolution.
Find A Grave takes no position on the appropriate timing of submitting such indexes. [Top]
Editing & Correcting Memorial Information
How do I correct an error in memorial data?
You can submit updates or corrections of factual information for any memorial by clicking on the 'Edit' tab on the memorial in question. Be sure you are logged in.
From here you can select one of the following options:
Birth/death date, birth/death place
Relationship (parent and spouse links)
Plot and/or GPS
Suggest any other correction or addition
The first five options allow you to make the factual update to the memorial. Once this is submitted, the manager of the memorial will receive this information as an editing request and will either approve it or decline it.
The final option allows anything not handled by one of the first five options to be sent as an email message. Follow the instructions to submit your correction. An email will be sent to the contributor who manages the memorial page (even if that person does not have an email showing on their contributor page). Please limit the use of this option to no more than 20 email requests per contributor per week. Most of our contributors are unable to make updates on the same day a request is sent in.
If you have official documentation for the update but have been declined, please send the update again under "suggest any other correction or addition," adding source and documentation that proves the update. Please make every effort to contact the manager of the memorial page and keep in mind that the manager may have differing information. [Top]
Help, I submitted a wrong or incomplete editing request, how do I delete it?
From your 'Profile' page, select the 'Edits' tab.
Select 'Pending Edits I submitted' from the dropdown menu.
Find the edit which needs deleted and click the 'x' to the right of the edit. Confirm deletion and the edit will be removed. [Top]
How do I update or delete a memorial that I manage?
In order to update, correct or delete information that YOU have added, simply go to the grave record you would like to alter and click the 'Edit' or 'Delete' link under the person's name. (You may also click on the Edit tab and then click on the link to edit specific information or delete the memorial.) To just change burial information, click the Edit link next to the existing burial information.
You must be 'logged in' to Find A Grave in order to edit or delete records. To determine whether or not you are logged in, look at the bottom of the left menu. It will tell you if you are logged in or not. If you are NOT logged in, just click the 'log in' link and enter the account information you used when you added the person you are attempting to edit. Please note that if you have created a record for a "famous" person, you will not be able to edit or delete the record once it has been converted to "famous" status. Corrections and additions, use the editing system to submit updates or non-members use
What if I suggest a correction and the contributor doesn't respond?
Have patience. Many contributors receive hundreds of corrections every month and it may take a while for your correction to be processed. Also, not every Find A Grave contributor is active on a daily basis on the site. Please send the source and documentation with your 'suggest a correction'. If you have suggested a correction and waited longer than thirty days for it to be processed or if you have found a contributor who you believe to be permanently inactive, please send the correction (forward the 'suggest a correction' that you sent) to
along with source and documentation, and we will edit the memorial on their behalf. [Top]
How do I process memorial edits I have received?
From your 'Profile' page, select the 'Edits' tab. The tab will display the number of edits you currently have pending. If the number is more than 25, the number will be displayed in red.
'Pending Edits I need to review' will be displayed. From here, you can review the pending edits submitted to you by other members. You will see three columns. The first will be the name of the memorial which you can click on to open the memorial in a new window. The second will show you how the memorial looks currently. And the third will show you the proposed look after the edit. All edits are by default as 'Accept'. Do not click 'Process selected edits' at the bottom of the page until you are ready to approve all the edits marked 'Accept'.
Accepting the edit will update the memorial to show what is in the 'Edit' column.
Ignoring the edit will allow you to hold the memorial for 21 days from the edit submission date while you research the proposed edit.
Declining the edit will not process the update for the memorial. If you decline the edit, you must select the reason from the dropdown menu as well as leave an optional short note.
Once you have selected one of the three options for each of the edits on the page, click 'Process selected edits'. The system will begin updating the memorials with the selected updates. Wait for the page to complete before going on to the next task. [Top]
How do I get a relative's memorial transferred to me?
First, Determine if you really need the memorial transferred to you for management. Only request transferring of management if you have extensive changes to make to a memorial. You can add photos and suggest corrections without having to request management. Simply having someone in your family tree is not grounds for a management transfer request. With hundreds of thousands of contributors, we have many overlapping family trees and it would be impossible for all contributors to manage their entire tree.
Second, Transfer requests will be for direct relatives within four generations. This would be your siblings, parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.
Third, If you have extensive additions/changes to make to a memorial, please contact the Find A Grave member who created the memorial via the "Suggest a Correction" link under the "Edit" tab on the memorial in question with your request to have the memorial management transferred to you. This will send an email request to the contributor, even if there is not an email address listed on their contributor page.
Fourth, Explain your relationship in the request! Any non-direct relatives (aunts, uncles, cousins, etc) are not required to be transferred. Keep in mind that the original contributor may also be related to the memorial and may not make the transfer. Again, always include your relationship to the memorial on a transfer request, in order for it to be considered. You may also want to include your specific interest in the memorial. Bulk surname requests must not be made. Be advised that memorials listed as famous or maintained by Find A Grave will not be transferred.
Fifth, The "Suggest a correction" feature may also be used to submit corrections, an original biography, and family links to memorials that do not fall under the above definition. (Be sure to include the memorial ID#s for the family links and how they are related, father, mother or spouse. The original contributor will make any corrections and add any additional information you have for that memorial, such as links to parents and spouses, provided the information is accurate.
Sixth, Please note that it is not appropriate to request a transfer and then, after receiving the transfer, delete that page and substitute it with a new memorial that you have created. This practice denies credit to the original contributor. Please use the original memorial page to make updates and add information.
NOTE: If you are unable to edit a memorial after it has been transferred to your account, try logging out of Find A Grave then logging back in. [Top]
What if a member will not transfer my relative to me?
If the memorial in question is a direct relative within four generations (siblings, parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents) to you and the original submitter is not direct family, then they must transfer the memorial. If they refuse to transfer your relative to you, contact
and we will work on it for you.
Please remember that there are thousands of contributors to Find A Grave, and it is highly likely that some of those contributors will actually be part of your family tree and share some of your ancestors.
Also, the goal is not to "own" every memorial of those to whom you are related. The ultimate goal is to have meaningful, accurate memorials that honor those who have passed away, regardless of who created the memorial or who maintains it. [Top]
Virtual Flowers and Notes
How do I leave a flower/note for someone listed on Find A Grave?
First, go to the record to which you wish to add flowers and/or a note. There will be a box on the right hand side that says "Leave flowers and a note for this person". Just click on that box and follow the steps. (Note: you must be registered as a member and logged in to be able to leave flowers and notes.) We want Find A Grave to remain a place of respect and remembrance, just like a real cemetery.
Do not leave derogatory or politically charged notes. Inappropriate notes will be removed, and individuals who continue to leave derogatory or politically charged notes will have their account closed. Additionally, biographical information and obituaries are not to be included in a virtual flower. Limit flowers to no more than one flower per memorial per day. [Top]
What does it mean when a flower note is 'under review?'
We don't believe that a person's grave (virtual or real) is an appropriate place to express negative sentiments or your own personal political views. Unfortunately, a very small minority of people don't share our opinion and we have been forced to come up with a solution. To prevent 'virtual flower' abuse, we have instituted a 'filtering' method that will catch most negative notes and submit them for moderator review. No automatic review is perfect, however, and well-intentioned messages will inevitably fall victim to these filters on occasion. In this case, you might see an 'under review' message next to your flower where you expected your note to be. The flower will be reviewed by a moderator and, if appropriate, it will then appear on the page as you intended. The review process usually takes no longer than a day. [Top]
What if I have found flowers or notes that are inappropriate or offensive?
Report it by clicking on the flower in question and clicking on the 'report abuse' link. If you are not a member, please email
concerning the note and give us the relevant information such as whose memorial page it is and the date on the note, or you can copy and paste the web address(http://…..) and we will take care of it. [Top]
What if I make a mistake on my virtual flower or want to delete it?
Once the flower and note has been entered then you may click on the flower and you will have the option of deleting it. You may then enter the flower and note correctly.
To delete an individual flower that you created just click its graphic. You will get to the 'flower detail page', and at the top of that page, you will see a 'delete this flower' button. [Top]
What is Find A Grave's 'My Scrapbook'?
The 'My Scrapbook' feature serves two purposes. First, it lets you upload 'Custom Flowers' that can then be added to memorials, just like the standard virtual flowers. These Custom Flowers can be photos, animated GIFs or MIDI files. Second, the 'My Scrapbook' feature lets you collect and store the flowers and graphics you use most often in one convenient place.
How do I add a 'Custom Flower' to Find A Grave?
If you have ever added a photo to Find A Grave, you'll find the process quite familiar. Simply click the 'Add new item to My Scrapbook' from this page (or from any of the 'My Scrapbook' pages), and you will be guided through the process of uploading your own Custom Flower. Remember, a Custom Flower can be your own photo, an animated GIF or a MIDI music file. [Top]
How do I manage the contents of 'My Scrapbook'?
There are two ways to add a new item to your scrapbook. First, all 'Custom Flowers' that you add are automatically added to your scrapbook. Additionally, as you browse Find A Grave, if you see a flower that you like, just click on it to view it on its own page. That page will have a button at the top that will let you add the flower to your scrapbook. To delete an item from your scrapbook, simply go to go your 'Contributor Tools' page and click on the edit button next to 'My Scrapbook'. Please be aware that the more Custom Flowers you have in your Scrapbook, the longer it will take for your Scrapbook to load and it may slow down your access to Find A Grave. [Top]
How do I upload a photo for photo request?
If you receive the emails from the photo request system then you can follow the link that is located within the email. This will take you to the claim/fulfill page where you can claim the request before you take the photo and then fulfill the request when you upload the photo. There are also other ways to get to this page. You can go to the main cemetery page (this is the page for the cemetery that has the total number of records, photos of the cemetery, a map, etc.) and then click on "# photo requests". This will take you to the claim/fulfill page. You can also search nearest your location or by zip code under your Contributor Tools (located in the lefthand column of the page after you are logged in). You can claim/fulfill from there also. NOTE: You may not copy photographs from other web sites and post them to Find A Grave. Please refer to our Copyright policy for more information.
How do I submit a photo request?
To make a photo request you need to be a member of Find A Grave and there needs to be a memorial page on Find A Grave for the deceased individual. Once you are a member and once you have either found an existing memorial page for the individual or you have created a memorial page (if one did not already exist), go to the memorial record for the person whom you would like a photo taken for and click on the "request a photo" button located at the right of the record page, below the photos and above the flowers. Follow the prompts to send out emails to the photo volunteers. Do NOT give anyone money to fulfill a photo request. Photo volunteers are volunteering to assist. If someone asks you for money to fulfill a photo request, please forward their email to
NOTE: Please contact the cemetery for plot information prior to making your photo request. Some cemeteries are now charging to look up plot location information, but they will usually provide the information free to family members.
NOTE: Many cemeteries are now asking that a relative of the deceased contact the cemetery to obtain plot, lot and grave location information, as well as inform the cemetery staff that a volunteer will be coming to take the photo of the grave marker. This helps with verifying that the deceased is buried there, makes it easier for the volunteer photographer to find the grave marker, and may help the photo volunteer gain permission to take the photo. [Top]
What if the photo request cannot be fulfilled?
Please use the 'Report A Problem' option on the Photo Request page for the cemetery and memorial in question. The problem will then be displayed on the Photo Request page to inform other photo volunteers of the problem as well as emailing the member who requested the photo. [Top]
What if there is no headstone?
Some people fulfill the photo request with photographs of the area where the individual was buried. In the photo's description, please indicate that there is no head stone and give specifics as to where the the grave is - such as right next to the headstone for someone else or to the left of the tree...
Some people further enhance the photograph by:
-Placing one of the following to mark the grave location - flowers, flag, or DAR emblem
-Photographing the area and adding a graphical outline to the photograph to show exactly where the grave is located.
-Do not use computer generated markers.
-Do not post a graphic stating "no gravestone" or similar language. [Top]
When I request a photo can I add additional information to help the volunteer?
Yes. When you request a photo, an information box will open up allowing you to add any details you think will assist the photo volunteer in locating the memorial. Additionally, if you created the memorial, you can add the plot information to the memorial as well. Many cemeteries will only give plot information to a family member, so it's always best if you call the cemetery to request the plot location and then include that information in your photo request, either in the information box that opens up or in the appropriate field on the memorial page itself. [Top]
Why don't I receive photo request emails?
The Find A Grave Photo Request System automatically sends out emails to volunteers who live closest to the cemetery in which the photo is being requested. If you are not receiving photo requests, it is usually an indication that our system has found a number of contributors who live closer to the cemetery than you. You can always search your area (or any other area) for photo requests by selecting requests nearest you or by entering a zip code in the 'Photo Volunteer' area of the 'Contributor Tools' page. [Top]
I requested a photo and received undeliverable emails back to my inbox, what now?
This is very common but it is not a problem. Your photo request was still registered. When you register a Find A Grave Photo Request, our system automatically generates an email to the ten closest photo volunteers. It is common for a few of these emails to be returned to you as 'undeliverable'. This happens when people change their email address and forget to update their Find A Grave profile.
To help prevent 'bounce back' messages for future requests, if you receive 'undeliverable' or 'bounced' email notifications after making a photo request, please submit the bad email addresses using this form. There is also a link to this form on your 'Contributor Tools' page (in the 'Photo Request' section). [Top]
When I search for photo requests by zip code the distances do not make any sense, why is that?
The measurement is taken point to point from the center of the zip code entered to the location of the cemetery in order of precedence:
1. The cemetery's latitude/longitude, if we have it...
2. The cemetery's city latitude/longitude, if we have city information for the cemetery...
3. The geographic center of the cemetery's county, which we always have (but this method is not very accurate, as you might imagine).
Zip codes are not uniform in shape nor size. The distance is an approximation and does not account for driving distance, just point to point. For better accuracy, set your GPS location by editing your profile on your 'Contributor Tools' page. [Top]
Can I sort the list of photo requests?
Yes, you can click on the column headers at the top of any photo request list. For example, clicking "Name" will sort the list in alphabetical order by surname. Click "Cemetery Distance" to arrange the names in order of their distance from your location. [Top]
Are there any suggestions in order to take a photo of a headstone that is hard to read?
Unless you are related to the interred on the headstone in question, DO NOT do anything to the headstone. We DO NOT recommend you do anything to the headstone to make it easier to read or easier to photograph. If it is a flat grave marker, you may be able to brush off loose dirt and debris. If the grave marker is in the shade or has little sun, it is possible to try different angles in relation to the sun or to use something simple, like a mirror or aluminum foil, to reflect sunlight onto a headstone face that is shaded and thus difficult to read in a photo. This does not in any way alter the stone itself, and one does not even need to touch the stone in order to reflect light. Harmless and effective solution for dark or shaded faces of grave markers, which improves the resulting photo.
Is there a way to view the photo requests I have claimed?
Yes. Go to your 'Contributor Tools' page. In the Photo Volunteer section there will be a link labeled 'view requests you have claimed'. [Top]
Can I charge money to fulfill a Find A Grave photo request?
Find A Grave's Photo Request System is a network of volunteers, helping others freely. Please do not request any money for your photo volunteer service. Doing so violates the spirit of the volunteer system and is against Find A Grave policy. Repeated abuse of this policy will result in account suspension. [Top]
Can anybody fulfill a photo request or do you have to be a photo volunteer?
You do not need to be a photo volunteer to fulfill a photo request. By going to your 'Contributor Tools' page, you can search for requests nearest you or by Zip Code and claim and fulfill them in this way. [Top]
How many photo requests can I make?
At any given time you may only have 20 requests within a 7 day period. Every photo request is timestamped. As the 7 day timestamp expires, you may then request another photo. [Top]
How do I clean a headstone or grave marker?
Unless you are related to the interred on the headstone in question, DO NOT do anything to the headstone.
Never clean gravestones with anything but water and a soft brush. Slate gravestones from the Revolutionary era and Pre-revolutionary era are best left alone due to their delicate nature and tendency to erode.
Never apply bleach, ammonia, shaving cream, chalk, flour, baking soda, cornstarch, firm pressure or use anything abrasive. Do not post photos of recently chalked or shaving-creamed headstones.
Consult a professional before any attempt to clean a headstone is made.
Reporting chalking: Photos of chalked, floured, shaving creamed, wire brushed, or otherwise altered headstones are strictly not allowed and are subject to removal when reported and/or when spotted by an administrator.
If the chalked photos appear on memorials that YOU have created and maintain, then you can ask to have them removed if you object to them, at which time they will be deleted. In such a case, report the photos to
. Use the same email address to report members who are continually posting chalked headstone photos. [Top]
Working with Photos
The "Add a photo for this cemetery" button is missing, what do I do?
When we determine that we have enough cemetery photos for a particular cemetery, we turn off the link to add new photos. If you believe your photo is significantly better than one of the current photos, please contact us at
. Include the URL to the cemetery and photo in question. The photo may or may not be accepted. [Top]
Can I add a photo that I found on Find a Grave to a memorial I am working on?
Our Terms of Service allow photos posted to Find A Grave to be shared amongst the Ancestry Community. As a result, you can post photos you found on Find A Grave to your Find A Grave memorials or on other Ancestry Community websites. We recommend that you provide attribution to the user who originally posted the photo. Please note: if you think a photo on Find A Grave includes living persons, you should get permission from the user who originally posted the photo before reposting it anywhere. [Top]
Can I add a photo that I found on another website to a Find A Grave memorial I am working on?
If you did not take a photo yourself or do not otherwise own the copyright for the photo, do not post it on Find A Grave unless the photo is old enough to fall under public domain or you have received written consent from the copyright holder. [Top]
How do I add a cemetery photo?
Go to the main cemetery page and click on the 'Add a photo for this cemetery' button.
Cemetery photos can include the main gate, the cemetery sign, a panoramic view of the cemetery, and a map of the cemetery grounds. Do not submit aerial or other photos taken from Google Maps, Google Earth, or similar websites. [Top]
Can I add photos of 'non-famous' people and/or of the grave?
Yes! You may add a grave photo of the headstone or a portrait photo containing the memorialized. Please, no post-mortem photos (showing the deceased) of any kind. To add a photo for a non-famous person, simply go to their grave record and click the 'Add a photo' button. There is a limit of 5 total photos on non-famous memorial pages, unless the page has been sponsored then the limit increases to 20 photos. [Top]
What kind of photos may be added to a memorial page?
You may add a grave photo of the headstone or a portrait photo containing the memorialized. Do not add photos of the cemetery gate to the memorial but instead add them to the cemetery's page. If a cemetery photo has been designated by admin to serve as the default photo to appear on individual memorial pages in that cemetery, it will appear automatically. Not all cemeteries have a default photo designated. There is a limit of 5 photos for non-famous memorials that have not been sponsored. Sponsored memorials may have up to 20 photos. Any contributor can upload an appropriate photo to any memorial regardless of who manages the page. No permission from the memorial manager is needed. However, if there is already a photo of the headstone, do not add a second similar photo unless the original is of poor quality and the new photo is dramatically better. This leaves room for photos of the deceased within the five-photo limit on unsponsored memorials. Please note that it is not appropriate to delete a page and substitute it with a new memorial that you have created just because you don't like a photo that someone else has added. If the photo is an appropriate addition to the memorial, it will be allowed to remain.
Do not post photos of recently chalked or shaving-creamed headstones.
ONLY post photos for which YOU hold the copyright (meaning photos you took)!!!
Our Terms of Service allow for photos posted to Find A Grave to be posted elsewhere within the Ancestry Community, but they do not allow such photos to be posted on non-Ancestry websites or otherwise republished without the copyright holder’s permission. Copyright of photos posted to Find A Grave remains with the original copyright holder.
JPEG format preferred (.jpg or .jpeg).
Less than 8.0MB
Crop any scanned photos to eliminate any surrounding white space.
No decorative graphics, animated GIFs, photo frames, or graphic embellishments.
No post-mortem photos.
No screen shots from other websites.
No obituary photographs.
No scans of obituaries or newspaper articles.
No photos taken from any website, including Find A Grave!!! [Top]
How do I add a photo?
1. Log in to your account (Not a member? It's free click here to register)
2. Go to the individual's memorial record.
3. Click the "Add a photo" button on the right side of the memorial record.
4. Follow the instructions. [Top]
How many photos may be added to a memorial page?
The number of photos that may be added to a memorial page depends on the type of memorial. Up to 5 photos may be added to the memorial pages of individuals who are "non-famous," if the memorial is not sponsored. If the non-famous memorial is sponsored, up to 20 photos may be added. For memorial pages of "famous" individuals, we usually limit photos to one good biographical photo and enough photos of the grave to show it in its entirety (usually 2-4 photos). Please do not submit any photos that are protected by copyright laws. [Top]
How do I delete a photo?
In order to delete a photo you have added to a memorial, you first must make sure you are logged in. Next, go to the person's memorial for whom you added the photo. Click on the photo you have added and on the page that comes up there will be a button above the photo that says, "Delete." Click that button to delete the photo.
If you want to delete a photo left by someone else, you will need to contact the individual who added it and ask them to remove it. If you want to delete a photo you have added to a cemetery page, please email a link to the cemetery page and a description of the photo to delete to us. [Top]
How do I correct a wrong cemetery photo?
You will need to send an email to
with a link (URL) to the cemetery, the name of the cemetery, and a description of the photo in question. [Top]
I found a photo of a relative on Find A Grave, can I use it?
Submitting a photo to Find A Grave grants Find A Grave a license to host the photo and facilitate the sharing of that photo across the Ancestry Community, so that Find A Grave users can post that photo to other Ancestry Community websites. However, submitting a photo to Find A Grave does not permit other Find A Grave users to post or republish the photo anywhere else (e.g., posting the photo on non-Ancestry sites or publishing it in a book, etc.). If you want to use another user’s photo other than for personal use, you should contact the user who posted the photo and ask for permission. [Top]
How do I correct an icon for a photo which I submitted?
You will need to delete the photo and re-add it. To do this, click on the photo to enlarge it and click on the "Delete" button. Then re-submit it and be sure to pick the correct photo category.
How do I submit a photo of a famous person?
In general, we limit the number of biographical photos of "famous" individuals to one photograph and the number of grave photos to 4 or 5. If we are still accepting biographical and/or grave photos for a famous individual, there will be a link near the bottom of the memorial page (above the "How famous or infamous was this person?" section) that states, "Do you have a photo to add? Click here." Click on that link and follow the instructions to add the photo.
Please do not submit photos that are protected by copyright laws. Please do not copy photos from other websites, as they are probably protected by copyright. [Top]
Can a photographer add a watermark to their photo?
Yes, a photographer can add a watermark to their photo. The watermark should not detract from the subject of the photo itself. Please keep watermarks small, in good taste, and non-intrusive. Administrative discretion can and will be used to determine if a particular watermark on a photo meets the standard and warrants removal. [Top]
Can I post a photo containing the text "unmarked grave" or post a generic image of a grave to represent an unmarked grave?
No. Please record that information in the Note and/or Plot section of the memorial page. If you are a photo volunteer please inform the submitter of the memorial that there is not a marker so that they can add that information. This prevents volunteers from duplicating efforts in locating a stone. [Top]
I feel I can enhance other people's photos through photoshopping techniques. Do I?
With the technology available today one certainly has the ability to alter and change any picture they come across on Findagrave. However, even though you might think the altered finished product is better than what was originally submitted, one has to assume that what has been contributed to Findagrave is satisfactory to the original submitter. Unless you have express permission to do so, do not in any way alter existing photos of any kind and resubmit them onto the website. Doing so is expressly prohibited. [Top]
Why was my photo removed?
We reserve the right to remove any images that we, in our discretion, believe are inappropriate or that violate the rights of Ancestry or any third party. When possible, we will attempt to notify you and ask you to remove the photo yourself, but in some circumstances we may remove the photo before notifying you. [Top]
What does it mean to 'sponsor' a Find A Grave Memorial?
Sponsoring a memorial page will permanently remove the ads from the page...and it only costs $5 (USD). The number of photos on a sponsored memorial will be increased from 5 to 20. To sponsor any non-famous Find A Grave Memorial page, simply click the sponsorship link at the top of the page, fill out the secure sponsorship form and you're done! Both you and the submitter of the memorial will receive an email stating that the memorial has been sponsored. (Famous memorials may not be sponsored.)
Why can't I find the "Sponsor This Memorial" button on a famous memorial?
Famous memorials can not be sponsored. [Top]
What are the standards for a famous Bio?
Many of Find A Grave's "famous person" biographies are pretty sparse. We simply have not had time to research, write and edit bios for the 100,000+ names listed. If you are interested in someone and would like to contribute a biography, we would love to have it. Any text you send to Find A Grave is subject to editorial alterations and will become the property of Find A Grave, Inc.
Please follow these standards. [Top]
What is a fame rating?
At the bottom of all famous memorials at Find A Grave, there is a rating system for fame. If you are logged in, you can rank someone's fame by clicking on one of the 'star' options. A vote of one star indicates that the person was barely famous. A vote of five stars indicates that the person achieved world wide fame. Please do not confuse fame with importance when voting. [Top]
What is a Virtual Cemetery?
A Find A Grave Virtual Cemetery is essentially a collection of names from the Find A Grave database. As a Find A Grave contributor, you can build Virtual Cemeteries to group listings in whatever way you would like. For example, you might make a 'Smith Family Virtual Cemetery' where you would place all of the members of your Smith family tree. Other examples: 'My Favorite Actors' or 'Memorials I Visit Often'. A VIRTUAL CEMETERY HAS NO RELATION TO A REAL CEMETERY! People listed in your VIRTUAL cemeteries can be buried in many different REAL cemeteries. You can add any name in the Find A Grave database to the Virtual Cemeteries you create and you can choose to make your Virtual Cemeteries visible to the visitors of your Find A Grave Contributor Profile page. [Top]
How do I create a virtual cemetery and add memorials to it?
To create a virtual cemetery, go to your contributor tools(left hand column after logging in). Once there click on the edit button across from "my virtual cemeteries". Then you will be able to add a new virtual cemetery or edit any that you have already created. Once you have created a virtual cemetery it will show up in your contributor tools. Go to the memorial that you would like to add to your virtual cemetery. Underneath the memorial's burial information is a link that says "Edit Virtual Cemetery" and "What's this". Click on "Edit Virtual Cemetery" and it will bring you to your list of virtual cemeteries. There is a box next to each virtual cemetery that you have created. Check the box(click the mouse on it) on the virtual cemetery you would like to add this memorial to and then click "save changes". This will add the person to that virtual cemetery. [Top]
How do I remove a name from a virtual cemetery?
Go to the memorial that you would like to remove from your virtual cemetery. Underneath their burial information there is a link that says "Edit Virtual Cemetery" and "What's this". Click on "Edit Virtual Cemetery" and it will bring you to your list of your virtual cemeteries. There is a checked box next to each virtual cemetery that the memorial is attached. Uncheck the box (click the mouse on it) on the virtual cemetery you would like to remove this memorial from and then click "save changes". This will remove that memorial from that virtual cemetery. [Top]
What if I notice that there are duplicate listings for the same cemetery in the same county and I know that there is only one?
Please use the cemetery fix/update forum to submit cemetery updates or non-members use
. We will merge the cemetery records into one listing. It is particularly helpful if you have an address for the cemetery (we can add that to the cemetery's record, too). [Top]
Can I add a cemetery bio and address information?
Yes. Use the Official cemetery fix/update forum to submit cemetery updates or non-members use
There's a cemetery that has both an official name and a commonly used name. How is the cemetery listed?
List the cemetery by its official name. Use the cemetery fix/update forum to submit cemetery updates or non-members use
. An AKA(s) for that cemetery will be added to the name field. [Top]
How do I add a map to a cemetery record?
Please use the cemetery fix/update forum to submit cemetery updates or non-members use
. Submit the latitude and longitude coordinates in decimal format (dd.dddd). [Top]
Where are the GPS coordinates for a cemetery placed?
This would be the coordinate location for the cemetery, not individual memorials within a cemetery.
For large cemeteries, at the main entrance.
For rural cemeteries with access roads, at the access road entrance.
For rural cemeteries along a road, centered is fine.
In general, the smaller the cemetery, the more important that it is centered. [Top]
Why are some cemetery names spelled in full and some abbreviated?
Are there rules/preferences for spelling and punctuation?
When members create cemeteries, they often abbreviate. Cemetery names are standardized when reported. Saint will always be spelled out. No apostrophes or other punctuation is to be included. So St. Mary's becomes Saint Marys. [Top]
How do I clean a bronze marker?
Unless you are related to the interred on the headstone in question, DO NOT do anything to the headstone.
The green is called verdigris and is the natural progression of bronze exposed to the elements, the verdigris will protect the bronze from further decay and SHOULD NOT be removed. Most if not all bronze when new will have a chemical patina applied to the bronze before installation that will over the years fail and expose the raw bronze to the weather that will then turn to the green that you see. The only way to slow verdigris bloom is to maintain the bronze every year from new. And the only correct treatment option with bronze that has verdigris is to apply a new patina to the bronze.
NOTE:Patinas come in many different colors, all bronze should be checked to insure that the green was not wanted.
This is not a do it yourself task and if done incorrectly it could damage or destroy the bronze object. And should only be done by those trained in the conservation of bronze.
-Member David (Murmur) [Top]
How to report bad advertisements.
The following types of advertising are not allowed on Find A Grave:
- “Adult” content including salacious ads, dating sites, alcohol, tobacco, or firearms.
- Overtly sexualized ads or anything you would be embarrassed to have your children see.
- Ads that play sounds on page-load or mouse-over without a click.
- Flashing, jiggling, or otherwise spastic ads.
- Any ads that ask you to install anything, or ‘trick’ you in to thinking you need protection from viruses, bugs, etc.
- Ads that redirect you without your permission or click.
The Find A Grave web site is free, however Find A Grave uses advertising to support the cost of operations. These ads should not interfere with the general enjoyment and usage of Find A Grave. Find A Grave subscribes to a number of ad exchanges and we do not approve specific ads, but rather subscribe to appropriate types of content. Through deceptive practices or miss-categorization, inappropriate ads may appear. You can help keep Find A Grave a clean and fantastic place for memorializing the deceased and family history research when you notice and report something inappropriate.
If you see an ad that should not be on Find A Grave, here is what you can do to help us eradicate it:
- Contact us at email@example.com
- Take a screenshot of the ad (use the Alt+PrtScn button on your windows keyboard, or Command+Shift+4 for Mac) then paste that in to email.
- Let us know your location, since different ads show up in different places.
- Tell us what the ad is advertising, be specific with company or product names.
- Tell us the URL the ad is coming from. For non-flash ads, right-click on the ad and select “Copy Image Location” and paste the URL in the email. For Flash ads, that’s trickier, but a screenshot will help.
We take bad ads seriously, however there is also a whole class of malware devoted to hijacking ads on web sites and inserting their own ads. If you have a bad plugin or virus, there isn't anything we can do.
If you are experiencing strange pop-up ads or other anomalies on your computer, try looking for and removing malware. Here are some links that have instructions for this issue. PCWorld Magazine Malware Tips , Mac Malware Tips
Upload and Transcribe
How do I upload a lot of photos I've taken?
First, you must enable the Beta EACH DAY, because we're still working on it, and want to make sure you're purposefully aware that the project is in beta, and that there may be the occasional bug.
From there, go to the cemetery page where your photos were taken, select "Upload headstone photos". This will give you a page where you can select, or even drag and drop a whole lot of photos, which will be placed online for you to transcribe.
Be sure to use this page to delete bad photos, or rotate any photos that are not rotated correctly. [Top]
Won't the Transcribe process create a lot of duplicate memorials?
No! While there may be a small number of duplicates that go through, the Transcribe page looks for duplicates that are created, and then attaches the photo to the pre-existing memorial, rather than create a new one.
In fact, when starting with the last name, you will get a drop-down list of matching memorials in that same cemetery, you can select one of these to have the photo attached quickly. [Top]
What if the gravestone photo has more information than is in the memorial for pre-existing memorials?
Right now, the process of transcribing will not automatically edit a pre-existing memorial, or provide a suggested correction to the memorial owner.
If you discover something new from the headstone that deserves to be on the memorial, by all means, send a Suggested Correction to the memorial owner. We hope to have some improvements along these lines as we continue developing. [Top]
How do I prevent other users from transcribing my photos?
When you upload photos in bulk to Find A Grave for Transcription, you have 7 days to transcribe those photos yourself. After that, your photos can be transcribed by anyone, however you ultimately own and manage the memorials created.
If you really don't want anyone to transcribe your photos, then you should consider uploading them in small enough batches that you can transcribe all of them within a week. [Top]
Can I delete a photo after it's been uploaded?
Yes, you the photographer have access to delete your own photos. Just go to the transcribe queue from your contributor page, and look for the trash-can on each photo.
If you have a more serious problem, contact firstname.lastname@example.org [Top]
What is Captcha and how do I complete it?
A captcha is a test to ensure that a user is human instead of an automated script. Captchas are used to block people from running scripts on the site that could result in Spam or other unwanted behavior. To complete the Captcha, simply click on the checkbox. This may be enough for the system to detect that you are human. It is also possible that images may appear which prompt you to select similar items (such as click on all pictures that contain a flower). Follow the instructions provided for the given captcha to prove that you are not a robot. If you are having trouble with the captcha, it is possible that you need to update your browser to its most current version. Captcha is supported by major browsers. Please contact email@example.com if there is an issue that cannot be resolved regarding captcha. [Top]